Anyone with even a passing interest in getting healthy will know there is a wealth of advice about what you should and shouldn’t be doing and unfortunately some of it is conflicting.

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If you’re trying to lose weight or just feel better, it’s a safe bet that going for more fruit and vegetables, less processed food and sugar and a dollop of exercise will help. But there could be some surprising things making your fitness efforts bomb without you realising. Here, we take a look.

1. Agave Nectar

That anti-sugar movement has been in full swing for months, and agave nectar – which comes from the sap of a plant – has been lauded as a sweet replacement. But according to Marisa Moore, who is a registered dietician, nutritionist and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it isn’t actually that good for you.

“Although agave is gaining popularity in health-minded circles, it’s not at all better than sugar and should be used sparingly like any other sweetener. Yes, it comes from a plant, but it has little to no nutritional value,” she told

The nectar has been called into question in the past, with suggestions that the way it’s made destroys all the health benefits which are often promoted. It’s also high in fructose, which can affect the liver and contributes to insulin resistance.

2. Vegetable crisps

If you’re more into your savoury treats, it’s often salty crisps that will be your downfall. Many people switch those for vegetable versions when they are trying to keep trim but you have to be careful with this, as you could be doing more harm than good.

“Although veggie chips have more fibre than a standard bag of crisps, many varieties are fried—not just simply dehydrated. If your go-to bag has oils and added sugars, you’d be better off snacking on fresh produce instead,” Marisa explained.

3. Protein bars

These have become increasingly popular, as everyone knows a diet high in protein is healthy and keeps you full for longer, right? That’s sort of the case, but you need to ensure you’re getting protein from healthy sources (things like chicken, eggs and lean meat). These bars usually isolate protein from chemically engineered ingredients, which isn’t as healthy. If you’re unsure, just look at the ingredients list – there should be fewer than ten things on there.

4. Gluten free

Again, you need to check the label. Just because something is gluten free doesn’t mean it’ll be healthy, it might still have a lot of sugar in it.

This also the case with things like smoothies and yoghurts. Just because they’re billed as healthy doesn’t mean they are, as they could actually be crammed with fat and sugar.

5. Low-fat sauces

A lot of people will presume things like low-fat mayo or salad cream should be their first port of call when trying to tone up. But actually these can be stuffed with ingredients which won’t do you any good in an effort to make them more palatable – think things like artificial preservatives and sugar. Those can make you crave food and suffer from inflammation, so instead, just have less of the full-fat version. — Cover Media